Former British Cycling doctors disagree over Sarah Storey’s drug exemption

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Ex-British cyclists disagree over drug exemption for Britain’s most successful female Paralympian Sarah Storey

  • The certificate ‘exemption for therapeutic use’ was applied for afterwards
  • Dr. Richard Freeman says he was asked to participate by Professor Steve Peters
  • Peters, British Cycling’s chief of medicine at the time, denies overseeing the application
  • The British Paralympic Association insists that Storey’s TUE is above the board

The controversy over a ‘therapeutic use exemption’ certificate issued to Britain’s most successful female Paralympian, Sarah Storey, at the 2012 London Games has taken a new turn with two former British cycling doctors disagreeing were about their role in the case.

Dr. Richard Freeman, a British cycling physician at the time who did not attend these Games, told this newspaper that his then boss, Professor Steve Peters, then British Cycling’s chief of medicine, had asked him to fill out some forms regarding the application.

The TUE application for Storey was filed retrospectively after a urine sample from August 30, 2012 came back with high concentrations of a performance-enhancing substance, sal-butamol, commonly used to treat asthma.

The British Paralympic Association insists Sarah Storey’s TUE was above the board

Storey, now 43, has won four London 2012 gold prizes, and the TUE retrospective was requested on September 7, 2012.

“I wasn’t even with the Para-lympics, but Steve Peters told me to participate in this TUE,” says Freeman.

Peters was at the time on the UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) panel of TUE experts who would decide whether a TUE would be issued. UKAD has confirmed this, adding that UKAD did not play a specific role in this Games certificate on this occasion. The British Paralympic Association insists that Storey’s TUE is above the board.

Peters said to MoS: ‘I did not supervise the application. I don’t know who actually requested it. I don’t know what doctors she is [Storey] saw. I don’t know who is on the panel. I was also not present when this happened. No doctor instructs another doctor to do anything… just to clarify, I was a treating doctor [at the London Paralympics] in psychiatry and not in physical medicine. ‘

The application for the TUE certificate was submitted afterwards after an unfavorable finding

The application for the TUE certificate was submitted afterwards after an unfavorable finding

The MoS asked Peters to clarify what he meant about no doctor telling another doctor to do something. As this newspaper revealed in March, we have seen documented evidence from Peters telling Freeman in 2011 to send an email to UK cyclists and staff about private urine tests after a rider returned an irregular urine test with traces of the bans anabolic steroid nandrolone in late 2010.

A spokesperson for Peters said: “As explained earlier, Prof. Peters never instructed Dr. Freeman. As explained earlier, no doctor instructs another doctor to do anything. He [Freeman] may have been consulted at the time [by Peters] to explain the TUE process. ‘

It is not known why Peters would be unfamiliar with the TUE process when he was on an expert UKAD TUE panel at the time.

The Mail on Sunday may also reveal today that both Freeman and Peters are among ex-British Cycling employees who have been contacted as of last month about an internal British Cycling probe into how British Cycling was actually allowed by UKAD to investigate itself after the nandrolone positive mentioned above.

The news comes when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) enters a ninth week of their own investigation into UKAD, due to the latter’s alleged failure to have the responsibility to investigate itself by British Cycling in 2011.

Dr.  Richard Freeman, who did not attend the 2012 Games, says he was asked to participate

Dr. Richard Freeman, who did not attend the 2012 Games, says he was asked to participate

As this paper revealed in March, the private British Cycling investigation ruled out supplement contamination as the reason for the abnormal finding, and also ruled out the rare high levels of nandrolone production in the involved cyclists.

Peters did not answer a question from the MoS about whether he helped British Cycling with their questions. Freeman does not feel able to partner with British Cycling as it still has one of its laptops containing most of its records and refuses to return it to him.

It’s clear that Freeman has had some contact with WADA’s intelligence and investigation department and wants to share everything he knows about what happened at British Cycling and Team Sky when he worked there, from 2009 to 2017.

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